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J Nurs Educ. 2006 Aug;45(8):317-22.

RN-to-MSN students' attitudes toward women experiencing homelessness: A focus group study.

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  • 1Occupational and Community Health, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, Camp Pendleton, CA 92055-5191, USA.


When health professionals, including RNs, have negative attitudes toward women experiencing homelessness, they create barriers to services. It is incumbent on nursing faculty to develop curricula that address homelessness and associated stereotypes, as well as to prepare students to provide safe and appropriate care to the homeless population. The aim of this qualitative study was to examine the attitudes of RN-to-MSN students toward mothers living with their children in a transitional shelter. A convenience sample of 10 students enrolled in a community health nursing course at a university in southern California participated in the study. Two focus groups were conducted: one before and one after a 15-week clinical experience. Data analysis revealed that during the clinical experience, students discovered that they, or perhaps an individual like them, could become homeless. Their attitudes and views changed to include a bigger picture of homelessness, described by public health nursing researchers as "moving upstream." This article suggests strategies for integrating clinical experiences with socioeconomically vulnerable individuals into undergraduate nursing curricula.

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